Tap the Yard: A Vineyard Festival of Rhythm and Beats has returned to the Yard in Chilmark for the third year. The two-week festival features some of the best dancers in the country working in progressive tap and dance.
Last weekend featured The Bang Group, The Manzari Brothers, Dylan Baker and The Wondertwins. Many of the groups have performed in previous Tap the Yard summers. The Wondertwins from South Boston once again displayed their unique blend of humor, music and dance, along with some stunning glitter suits. For the Manzari Brothers, this was their first trip to the Island. Ordinarily both brothers perform tap routines together, with Leo stepping out from time to time to perform on the piano while his brother John brings on the percussion with his feet. But Leo sprained his ankle recently, so the floor was all John’s. It was as if fireworks were going off in the Patricia N. Nanon Theatre, his feet hit so hard and fast.
Although called Tap the Yard, the festival is not just a tap festival, nor is it a hip hop festival or a contemporary dance festival. Rather, it is an all encompassing rhythm festival that brings together forms of dance not usually associated with each other.
“The goal is to see the underlying universals that we all have as artists,” said David Parker, co-curator of the festival. “This festival shows that underneath it all there is the purity of rhythm, not necessarily what kind of shoes, what kind of music or what kind of movement, but that we all base what we do on time.”
The diversity within the show not only inspires and excites the audience, it creates a broader learning environment for the artists themselves. Despite their difference in types of dance, the artists spend a week together practicing, performing and learning from each other.
“To have us all under one roof for an audience to see is great visually. We are all professionals, so we take our art very seriously and we give a great show,” said Billy McClain from the Wondertwinz.
Throughout the rest of the festival, the names will change but the unique combination of dances will remain.
“Next week, among others, we have Jason Samuel Smith, and he is quite frankly one of the best tap dancers in the world right now,” said Alison Manning, co-curator of the festival. “It’s going to be a completely different week, but the artists are all equally inspiring.”
Mr. Samuel Smith performs on Wednesday and Thursday nights, July 9 and 10. On Friday and Saturday, tap meets hip-hop meets Bollywood meets B-girl with Sheetal Gandhi, Michela Lerman and Ephrat Asherie.
The Yard also welcomes Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company on Tuesday, July 15, at the Performing Arts Center at the regional high school. The company of six performs pieces from Mr. Taylor’s 60-year history.
Visit dancetheyard.org for tickets and information.